Boys soccer | Palmetto blanks Immokalee 4-0, earns third region championship

Palmetto blanks Immokalee, earns third trip to state

twolfrum@bradenton.comFebruary 6, 2013 

PALMETTO -- Scoring chances were so plentiful for Palmetto during Tuesday's boys soccer region final that Javis Paniagua saw an open net in front of him and passed the ball.

Just to the left of the goal with a good angle, Paniagua elected to flick the ball to his right for an even-more-open Gregorio Calvillo, the team's leading scorer.

Calvillo's subsequent screamer gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead early in the second half on the way to a 4-0 victory over Immokalee in the Class 3A-Region 3 final at Harllee Stadium.

"I just preferred him," Paniagua said, explaining his benevolence. "He looked better. He had a better chance. I had to give it to him."

Calvillo scored a pair of goals, his 43rd and 44th of the season, and Paniagua had two assists as Palmetto (25-1-3) earned its third trip to the state final four and first since 2010. The Tigers will visit Plantation American Heritage, the defending Class 3A champion, in the state semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday.

Calvillo said Paniagua's pass didn't surprise him.

"Actually, Javis usually lays it on the plate for me," Calvillo said. "He's one of my fellow midfielders. He's a really good friend of mine, too."

Palmetto dominated play throughout Tuesday's match, outshooting the Indians (18-3-4) 16-9. But, especially in the first half, the Tigers had several more opportunities on corner kicks that they failed to turn into shots.

"We had so many chances," Calvillo said. "We just had to put it in. Some we didn't, and some we did take advantage of."

Immokalee made its second consecutive trip to the region final but has yet to win the title.

Gregorio Calvillo opened the scoring with 27 minutes, 30 seconds to go in the first half on a throw-in from Pedro Cavillo. Francisco Jimenez got his head on the ball, and it ricocheted in front of the net for Gregorio Calvillo, who punched it in.

Twenty-five minutes later, Jimenez got his chance, knocking in a header on a perfect corner kick from Paniagua. The Tigers had a 2-0 lead at the half.

After Paniagua found Gregorio Calvillo for the third goal with 26:30 to play in the game, Zach Reda put the icing on the cake 10 minutes later with a penalty-kick goal.

Palmetto fans responded with a "Final Four" chant.

After the victory, the Tigers doused head coach Dustin Dahlquist with sports drink, sang "Happy Birthday" and presented him with a signed card. It was the coach's 39th birthday.

"Our guys went out and played hard," Dahlquist said. "We didn't necessarily play our best game, technically. But we did enough on the scoreboard to get through to Friday night.

"Their defenders did a good job of not letting us get some balls through, but playing those out to the corners. We've got a little bit to work on there. ... Anytime you have that large a difference in corners, it usually means good things for your team."

The Tigers are off to Plantation to try for the school's first victory in a state tournament.

"It's a privilege to represent this school. ... It's emotional. I can't describe it," Paniagua said.

Said Gregorio Calvillo, "It means the world to me. I haven't been there. We've got to keep on going."

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